In a correctional facility what kind of programs would you implement?
Did Dr. Jerome Miller advocate a successful solution to most juvenile offenses by his almost total reliance on community based programs?
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Programs in correctional facilities must rely on available local social services, because of budget limitations, but the essential response to questions of the nature of programs must begin with an examination of the element of “correction.” That is, what is the proportion of “punishment,” “prevention,” “correction,” or “rehabilitation”? There is an underlying assumption that imprisonment should be “painful,” in order for the fear of confinement to be a preventive to crime. Much social pressure is applied to programs, therefore, that actually provide interest and rehabilitation to the prisoners. A case in point is the Pell Grant-funded college courses offered (until 2004) in some medium-security prisons, offered by local universities. The criteria for participation were strict – early release, support family, non-violent non-repeaters, non-parole violators, etc. – and inmates were truly getting a start on a successful education, taking basic courses such as Freshman English, literature, and business courses. The whole program felt its greatest resistance from the guards, who claimed that they had to support their own children’s college education while the prisoners got theirs for free while in prison! No amount of reason, long-range vision explanation satisfied the guards, who did everything they could to make going to class difficult for the inmates. The most successful program has always been the 12-Step program for alcoholism (a major cause of crime). Also, religious freedoms such as Islam have been beneficial.
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